2020 Indie Book Awards Shortlist Announced: Focus on Kids and YA

2020 Indie Book Awards Shortlist Announced: Focus on Kids and YA

In exciting news just in the shortlist for the 2020 Indie Book Awards has been announced. There are many of our kids and YA favourites that have made the list, books we have loved and we know you have too – because you told us!

We all love our local bookshops and booksellers are an invaluable source when it comes to recommendations. Established in 2008, the Indie Book Awards recognise and celebrate this country’s incredible talent and the role independent booksellers play in supporting and nurturing Australian writing.

On the announcement author of Young Dark Emu, Bruce Pascoe, acknowledged the vital role that booksellers have in the publishing industry.

‘Our independent booksellers work tirelessly to champion the work of Australian writers and illustrators and so it means a lot to me that Young Dark Emu has been shortlisted by these very booksellers, at the heart of our industry.’

The twenty-four shortlisted books will be vying for the top spot as the Overall Indie ‘Book of the Year’. Panels of expert judges (all indie booksellers and avid readers) will choose the winners in the six book categories and independent booksellers from around the country will then vote to select their favourite book of the year from the six category winners.

You can take a look at the full list here and below we have listed the Children’s and Young Adult contenders. There are many that we have reviewed so where possible we have linked to our review.

Since the Awards inception in 2008, the Indies have a well-deserved reputation for picking the best of the best in Australian writing. Past Book of the Year winners have gone on to be bestsellers and win other major literary awards. Previous winners include: Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton; Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend, The Dry by Jane Harper; The Natural Way of Things by Charlotte Wood; The Bush by Don Watson; The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan; The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman; All That I Am by Anna Funder; The Happiest Refugee by Anh Do; Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey; and  Breath by Tim Winton.

Congrats to all those who made the list and best of luck for March 23 when the winners will be announced.

CHILDREN’S

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals by Sami Bayly (Lothian Children’s Books)

Into the Wild: Wolf Girl, Book 1 by Anh Do, illustrated by Jeremy Ley (Allen and Unwin Children’s)

The Tiny Star by Mem Fox & Freya Blackwood (Puffin Australia)

Young Dark Emu: A Truer History by Bruce Pascoe (Magabala Books)

YOUNG ADULT

The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim (Allen and Unwin Children’s)

Aurora Rising: The Aurora Cycle 1 by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Allen and Unwin Children’s)

It Sounded Better in My Head by Nina Kenwood (Text Publishing)

Monuments by Will Kostakis (Lothian Children’s Books)

 

Find out more about the award and see the full shortlist here.

 

 

 

Reviews

A Poignant Reflection on Life: Review of The Tiny Star

Review

14 October 2019

A Poignant Reflection on Life: Review of The Tiny Star

Weird and Wonderful: Review of The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals

Review

24 September 2019

Weird and Wonderful: Review of The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals

The Power of the Gods: Read an Extract from Monuments

Review | Extract

30 August 2019

The Power of the Gods: Read an Extract from Monuments

Gods, Guardians and Hounds: Review of Monuments

Review

27 August 2019

Gods, Guardians and Hounds: Review of Monuments

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      Publisher details

      The Great Escape: Wolf Girl 2
      Author
      Anh Do
      Publisher
      Allen & Unwin
      Genre
      Children’s Fiction
      Released
      01 December, 2019

      Synopsis

      I held onto the bars of the truck and howled to my dogs as they fell further and further behind. Sunrise, Brutus, Zip, Nosey and Tiny all ran as hard as they could, but there was no way they could keep up…After four years alone in the wild, Gwen is overjoyed to see another person. But when she is thrown into the back of a van and stolen away to a prison camp, things don't look good. How will her pack find her? Where is her human family? Will the other kids in the camp be friends or enemies?Luckily, Eagle is fast, the dogs are brave, and bars and fences are no match for the one and only Wolf Girl!

      Publisher details

      The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals
      Author
      Sami Bayly
      Publisher
      Hachette
      Genre
      Children’s Non-Fiction
      Released
      24 September, 2019

      Synopsis

      Marvel as you enter the fascinating hidden world of ugly animals in this illustrated encyclopaedia of the animal kingdom's most unusual and beauty-challenged species. It's time for ugly animals to shine!Marvel as you enter the fascinating hidden world of ugly animals in this encyclopaedia of the animal kingdom's most unusual and beauty-challenged species. It's time for ugly animals to shine!With more than sixty ugly animals to explore, this compendium of the unusual celebrates the beauty in 'ugliness'. Children and adults alike will pore over the breathtaking scientific illustrations of unusual animals, debating their relative ugliness and merits, learning about science and nature along the way.Featuring illustrations and facts about the thorniest species the animal kingdom has to offer, from the naked mole rat to the goblin shark, aye-aye, sphinx cat, blobfish and many more 'ugly' beauties.This gorgeous hardcover book is illustrated in exquisite detail by exciting new Australian talent, Sami Bayly.

      Synopsis

      A beautiful and charming story about the journey of life by bestselling author Mem Fox. Illustrated by the talented Freya Blackwood.Once upon a time, although this happens all the time, a tiny star fell to earth . . . This touching and timeless story combines, for the first time, the talents of world-renowned author Mem Fox with the heartwarming illustrations of Freya Blackwood. These two luminaries craft a truly unique and moving story about the journey of life, to be cherished and shared for generations to come.

      Publisher details

      Monuments
      Publisher
      Hachette
      Genres
      Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction
      Released
      27 August, 2019

      Synopsis

      When Connor Giannopoulos discovers a Monument under his high school, he doesn't have any idea how much his life is going to change forever. It turns out that immortality and strength beyond his wildest dreams is a bit more responsibility than he bargained for.All 16-year-old Connor is trying to do is avoid his ex-best friend when he stumbles upon a trapdoor to a secret chamber under his school. But when Sally Rodgers breaks into the same secret chamber looking for an ancient being, things take an unexpected turn . . . and Connor's life will never be the same again.Along with the mysterious Sally and, later on, his new friend Locky, Connor discovers the Monuments - gods who have been buried for generations - who created the world and hid themselves away from humanity to keep everyone safe. But now they're exposed and vulnerable, and Connor isn't sure who, himself included, can be trusted with the knowledge and the power these gods have.MONUMENTS is the first book in an exciting new duology from YA star, Will Kostakis.
       

      Synopsis

      A wildly exciting new adventure series from bestselling author Anh Do.I crawled onto the bank and collapsed, exhausted. From the dirt, I looked up in amazement at four dogs staring down at me. Was I dreaming? Had I gone mad? It all seemed very real. 'You guys saved me!' I said, as I sat up in my dripping clothes. 'I owe you.'When disaster separates Gwen from her family, she must fend for herself, all alone in the wilderness.Luckily, she's not alone for long… When a wolf puppy, a Labrador, a Chihuahua, and a greyhound want to make friends, Gwen discovers talents she didn't know she possessed.It will take all her new skills and strength just to survive. Does Gwen have what it takes to be leader of the pack?

      Publisher details

      Young Dark Emu
      Author
      Bruce Pascoe
      Publisher
      Magabala Books
      Genre
      Non Fiction
      Released
      01 June, 2019

      Synopsis

      Using the accounts of early European explorers, colonists and farmers, Bruce Pascoe compellingly argues for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer label for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians. He allows the reader to see Australia as it was before Europeans arrived — a land of cultivated farming areas, productive fisheries, permanent homes, and an understanding of the environment and its natural resources that supported thriving villages across the continent. Young Dark Emu — A Truer History asks young readers to consider a different version of Australia’s history pre-European colonisation.
      Sami Bayly
      About the author

      Sami Bayly

      Sami Bayly is a natural history illustrator based in Newcastle, who loves all things weird and wonderful. She finds the beauty and importance of all animals regardless of their appearance, and hopes to share her appreciation with others.After recently completing her University degree, she is eager to see what the world has instore for her and her quirky subject matter.The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Ugly Animals is her first book.To keep up to date you can follow Sami on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/samibayly/

      Books by Sami Bayly

      Bruce Pascoe
      About the author

      Bruce Pascoe

      Bruce Pascoe is a Bunurong man born in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond. He is a member of the Wathaurong Aboriginal Co-operative of southern Victoria and has been the director of the Australian Studies Project for the Commonwealth Schools Commission. Bruce has had a varied career as a teacher, farmer, fisherman, barman, fencing contractor, lecturer, Aboriginal language researcher, archaeological site worker and editor.Books include the short story collections "Night Animals" and "Nightjar"; the novels "Fox," "Ruby Eyed Coucal," "Ribcage," "Shark," "Earth," and "Ocean"; historical works "Cape Otway: Coast of secrets" and "Convincing Ground"; the childrens book "Foxies in a Firehose" and the young adult fiction "Fog a Dox," which won the Prime Ministers Literary Award for YA Fiction, 2013."

      Books by Bruce Pascoe

      Freya Blackwood
      About the author

      Freya Blackwood

      Freya Blackwood is an Australian illustrator and special effects artist. She worked on special effects for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy from 2001 to 2003 and won the Kate Greenaway Medal for British children's book illustration in 2010.

      Books by Freya Blackwood

      Will Kostakis
      About the author

      Will Kostakis

      Will Kostakis is an award-winning author for young adults. His first novel, Loathing Lola, was released when he was just nineteen, and his second, The First Third, won the 2014 Gold Inky Award. It was also shortlisted for the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year and Australian Prime Minister's Literary awards. The Sidekicks was his third novel for young adults, and his American debut. As a high school student, Will won Sydney Morning Herald Young Writer of the Year for a collection of short stories.

      Books by Will Kostakis

      Anh Do
      About the author

      Anh Do

      Anh Do is one of Australia's leading comedians. He has also acted in television series and films, written screenplays and is a sought-after keynote speaker. His unique and inspirational experience leaving Vietnam as a toddler and growing up in Australia is the subject of his bestselling and award-winning memoir, The Happiest Refugee.

       

      Books by Anh Do

      Mem Fox
      About the author

      Mem Fox

      Mem Fox has written over 38 books for adults and children including Possum Magic, which has sold over three million copies and is the bestselling picture book ever in Australia. Mem has been presented with many awards including an AM in the 1993 Australia Day Honours for services to the cultural life of Australia; an SA Great Award for Literature in 2001; the Prime Minister's Centenary Medal in 2003; and she was shortlisted for the Australian of the Year in 2004. She worked as an Associate Professor of Literacy Studies in the School of Education at Flinders University, South Australia for twenty-four years and is now an international literacy consultant.Mem's books with Penguin include Where is the Green Sheep?Hunwick's EggA Particular CowWhere The Giant SleepsTen Little Fingers and Ten Little ToesHello Baby!, The Goblin and the Empty ChairA Giraffe in the Bath and most recently Baby Bedtime. She lives in Adelaide, Australia.

      Books by Mem Fox

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